Record number of Caesarean births in Hartlepool

More babies were delivered through caesareans in Hartlepool last year than ever before, new figures reveal.

Of the 300 births recorded in the area in 2020-21, data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) show 33.2% were delivered by C-section.

That was up from 32.8% the year before, and the highest rate since records began in 2014-15.

The data shows that 32.5% of births in England over the year were delivered by caesarean section – up from 30.1% in 2019-20.

More C-section births.

This rate was also a record high.

Separate figures from the OHID also show that the fertility rate in England has fallen to the lowest level on record.

The general fertility rate – measured by the number of babies born for every 1,000 females aged between 15 and 44 – fell to 55.3 in 2020, the latest figures available.

In Hartlepool, the rate was 55.9 in 2020 – down from 56.5 in 2019, and also the lowest since comparable records began in 2010.

Dr Teresa Kelly, consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said said the increase in C-sections is due to a higher number of complex births.

This, she added, was caused by the an increase in both obesity rates and a higher average age of women giving birth.

NHS England recently told hospitals to stop using caesarean section rates as performance targets.

Royal College of Midwives executive director Birte Harlev-Lam said: “Decisions about clinical care should not be dictated by targets and should be made in the best interests of the woman and her baby, in collaboration with the woman."